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Homeowner Utility Cost Savings Tips

As a homeowner, there are different ways to help lower costs on utilities, some give an immediate impact on your cost savings and others help to extend the life of utilities such as appliances or HVAC (heating and cooling) systems. Let’s take a look at what we can do.

In my house, like most homes, there is always the debate about what the temperature should be set at on the thermostat. Once you have an agreed upon temperature, there are a few steps to take that can help lower the cost of your preferred temperature and life expectancy of your system:

  1. Install a programmable thermostat. If you keep a relatively routine schedule, you can program the thermostat to drop the temperature a few degrees when you are sleeping or not at home. The thermostat can also be adjusted to automatically return to your preferred temperature when you wake up or return home.
  2. Replace air filters. Try to replace the filter in your furnace on a quarterly basis; some filters allow for longer usage so replace accordingly. A dirty or outdated filter doesn’t filter air well which forces your air handler to work harder, and longer, to maintain the temperature in your home.
  3. Make sure vents and return vents are not blocked. Some homes have return vents in every room as others homes may only have a couple, spread around the house. Your furnace needs that airflow to effectively and efficiently cool or heat the house.

Conserving water and energy to heat the water is a big way to help keep a few extra dollars in your wallet. Follow these steps:

  1. Set your water heater thermostat to 120-130 degrees. To test the temperature, run your hot water for 1 minute and then fill a cup. Place a cooking thermometer in the cup and adjust your water heater accordingly. Note that a dial on the base of your water heater usually has clearly marked settings to help with adjusting.
  2. Fix leaky faucets. A faucet that drips once a second can waste over 1,600 gallons per year.
  3. Repair a running toilet. There are a few reasons that could cause a toilet tank to constantly keep filling with water. The most common item is the flapper. The flapper is a large rubber piece at the bottom of the tank that is connected to the handle chain. It is a simple fix that cost a few dollars; check out YouTube for some helpful tutorials. On average, a leaky flapper can waste up to 30 gallons of water per day.

The electric bill is one we all dread and is a non-negotiable monthly necessity. Some ideas to help lower this monthly bill include:

  1. Replacing regular light bulbs with LED. If you cannot change to LED bulbs, try to make a change to a lower wattage bulb. A 100-watt bulb used 6 hours a day can cost up to $25 a year. A 40-watt bulb used for 6 hours a day costs around $10 a year. Figure that cost out with the amount of bulbs in your home. The cost savings can be extraordinary.
  2. Turn off lights in rooms that are not being used.
  3. Install dimmer switches. Only use as much light as you need.
  4. Install ceiling fans. These help keep air circulating so that the air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard.

Very few people can say they enjoy doing laundry. With a few of these tips in mind, at least you can say you have taken some control in the costs to run your washer and dryer:

  1. Wash with cold water as much as possible.
  2. Wash with full loads. Your washer is going to use the same amount of energy no matter how much laundry you put in there.
  3. Air dry as many clothes as you can. A drying rack and clothes on hangers reduce the amount going in the dryer.
  4. Clean the lint filter every load.

There you have it! Individually, these cost saving tips may seem insignificant, but as a group they can have a major effect on the dollars spent on utilities.

~ Mike – Facilities Supervisor

 

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